North of the Interamericana beyond Cañas – and clearly visible from the hot Guanacaste lowlands – loom VOLCÁN MIRAVALLES and VOLCÁN TENORIO. Miravalles, at 2028m the highest volcano in Guanacaste, is home to an important forest reserve with abundant wildlife and birds, though it’s not open to the public, while Tenorio forms the centrepiece of an increasingly popular national park.

From the Reserva Biológica Privada La Pacífica, 7km north of Cañas, turn north off the Interamericana onto the road to Upala, a paved and reasonably maintained fifty-eight-kilometre stretch that runs between the two volcanoes, and from which you can contemplate the spectacular colour changes and cloud shadows on their flanks. Located roughly equidistant between the two volcanoes is the small hamlet of Bijagua, an impressively enterprising community that is home to a number of ecotourism projects, including an ecology centre, organic farms and a collective of female artisans.

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